david brodie photography
david brodie photography
visual thinking
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God, Nature and Humanity
this is not an apple
useful delusions
centrisms
the one true way
stepping not flowing
Zeno's singularity
uncertainty
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David Brodie photography
KIS: kunsistunt Inglish speling
GIA: Go In International Arts, China
Intra-China: independent travel in China
Uncertainty
The world we experience is not a world of certainties. 1. Imagine an island with a footpath all around its coast. You walk the entire length, and measure it. You might be tempted to suppose that you now know the circumference of the island. But you didn't stick closely to the water's edge. And the water kept moving, which surely didn't help. Even if it had stayed still, how would you know whether to stay this side or that side of every grain of sand. It makes a big difference to your measurement, because there are many grains of sand. There is no accurate and precise measurement. Only uncertainty. 2. Such is the world that scientists must deal with when locating very small objects. There may be a 'most likely' position, but it is surrounded by a cloud of possible locations. There is no absolute certainty. A scientist who publishes over-confident 'knowledge' will be take to task by others, perhaps taken apart, with only a wrecked career to show. Before any statement is accepted for publication, others who are familiar with the issues will assess the work. And one of the first things they will look for is recognition and allowance for uncertainties. And after publication, work is subject to scrutiny and criticism by the wider community of experts. In the end, science does not offer certainty. It tries to offer the best possible accounts of the world in the light of all the available evidence, which is then subject to further inspection and evaluation. Thus science, when at its best, is distinct from other human activities.